Murdoch ‘not fit’ to be global company chief

Rupert Murdoch is not a “fit person” to be the leader of News Corp after showing “wilful blindness” to the culture of phone hacking at News of the World, MPs have said.

Rupert Murdoch

The culture, media and sport select committee, whose inquiry has questioned journalists, police and company executives about the phone hacking scandal since July, said News Corp was guilty of “huge failings of corporate governance” with its handling of the affair.

It added that its instinct had been to “cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators”.

The report also said News International had shown contempt for parliament in the “most blatant fashion” and a punishment could be imposed to those individuals who provided “misleading evidence” to the committee. Executives accused of lying include former CEO Les Hinton and former News of the World editor Colin Myler.

Of Rupert Murdoch, the cross-party committee’s report said he did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking and “turned a blind eye” to what was going on at his companies and publications.

It added: “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International.”

We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”

However, the decision to include the line about Murdoch being “unfit” to lead the business was split, with the Conservative MPs on the committee choosing not to back the claim.

The report said Rupert Murdoch’s son James Murdoch had displayed “wilful ignorance” of the negotiations surrounding Gordon Taylor’s phone hacking settlement and said it was “astonishing” he did not seek more information on the case.

News Corp says in a statement: “News Corporation is carefully reviewing the select committee’s report and will respond shortly. The company fully acknowledges significant wrongdoing at News of the World and apologises to everyone whose privacy was invaded.”

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